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Massive Keystone 1 Pipeline Oil Spill

November 20th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

All pipelines spill, when transporting oil or gas, environmental damage to land, waterways and human health is inevitable.

On Thursday, Friends of the Earth issued the following statement, saying:

“Today, TransCanada’s Keystone 1 pipeline spilled more than 200,000 gallons of tar sands - the world’s dirtiest oil - in South Dakota. This spill will contaminate the environment and threaten local communities.”“This is a sign of what’s to come if Trump succeeds in forcing construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil every day from Alberta, Canada to the US Gulf Coast.”

Full story »

Nikki Haley Rage

November 20th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Long ago, Washington had respectable UN ambassadors, including Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Adlai Stevenson, Arthur Goldberg, and Andrew Young.

Few Americans likely remember GHW Bush’s tenure in the post - from March 1, 1971 - January 18, 1973.

Earlier days are long gone, notably post-9/11 with neocons John Negroponte, John Bolton, Zalmay Khalilzad, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and likeminded others serving as UN envoys.

Current incumbent Nikki Haley is the worst of the lot, an embarrassment to the office she holds, an over-the-top loose cannon, an imperial lunatic, a geopolitical know-nothing, a Russophobic extremist - representing America’s ugly face, its ruthless agenda, its imperial madness.


Addressing the Security Council on Friday
, she dispensed with diplomatic niceties and hard truths, devoting her remarks entirely to an anti-Russia tirade in response to its veto of Washington’s unacceptable resolution on extending the OPCW/UN Joint Investigation Mechanism (JIM).

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Special Counsel Investigation Into Clinton Foundation Shenanigans?

November 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

It’s high time it happened. The foundation is a notorious money-laundering, pay-to-play, self-enrichment racket for the Clintons, masquerading as a charitable NGO, RICO crimes if taken that far.

In a November 13 letter to House Judiciary Committee members, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he directed senior federal prosecutors to recommend whether appointing a special counsel is warranted to investigate alleged Uranium One “unlawful dealings related to the Clinton Foundation and other matters,” adding:

“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

“This will better enable the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General to more effectively evaluate and manage the caseload.”

Sessions responded to House Judiciary Committee Republicans, holding an oversight hearing into the issue

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Trump Picks Drug Industry Bandit for HHS Secretary

November 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services director is corporate predator Alex Azar - former president of Lilly USA LLC, Eli Lilly’s largest affiliate company.

In 2012, he headed Lilly’s US operations, was also involved in its international and government affairs work.

Earlier he was GW Bush’s deputy HHS secretary. In 1991, he earned a law degree from Yale, clerked for an appeals court justice, then Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from 1992 - 1993. During Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation, he served in his Office of the Independent Counsel. He practiced law for Washington-based Wiley, Rein and Fielding until 2001, becoming a partner in the firm.

From 2001 - 2005, he was HHS general counsel - for two more years in the department as deputy HHS secretary in an administrative capacity - supervising operations for food and drugs, Medicare, Medicaid, medical research, public health, welfare, child and family services, disease prevention, Indian health, mental health services, emergency preparedness and response.

The FDA, Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported to him.

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Military Coup in Zimbabwe

November 16th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, heading the nation’s ZANU-PF party, earlier as prime minister, for the last 30 years as president. He’s now aged-93 in poor health.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s military took control of the country’s state-run ZBC television.

Addressing the nation, spokesman General SB Moyo said criminals “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country” were targeted “in order to bring them to justice,” adding:

The military is seeking to “pacify a degenerating, social, and economic situation.” He ludicrously denied a coup occurred, saying “Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their safety is guaranteed.”

On November 14, ZANU-PF accused the army chief of “treasonable conduct” after he challenged Mugabe’s sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for disloyalty, a former intelligence chief, seen as his successor.

Ruling party members believe a “bloodless transition” of power is underway, Mubabe heavily guarded under house arrest, preparing to announce his resignation.

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China and the US: Comparing Leadership Selection

November 15th, 2017

James Petras

The US selection of leaders has virtually nothing to do with democratic processes and outcomes. It is useful to contrast this with the process in China. In most instances, China’s selection of leaders is far more meritocratic, successful and performance-based. In both the US and China, the process lacks transparency.

US Economic, Political and Cultural Leadership

The selection of US economic, political and cultural leaders is based on several undemocratic procedures.

1. Inheritance via family ties

2. Personal access to credit and financing

3. Political patronage

4. Lobby and elite sale and purchase of office and favors

5. Media links

6. Political repression and manipulation of electoral procedures

7. Incumbency and use of state resources

8. Ethno-religious nepotism

9. Internal party hierarchy

10. Closed party decisions (opacity)

11. Ability to keep secrets

Leaders, whether appointed, self-appointed and selected through money, media, elite networks, turn the electoral process into virtual afterthoughts in the US system. US economic leaders have increased the flow from productive profits and investments upward to the financial sector and/or outwardly overseas to tax havens.

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Theresa May’s Anti-Russia Rant

November 15th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Addressing a Monday lord mayor’s banquet, May shamefully bashed Russia viciously, falsely accusing the Kremlin of “weaponiz(ing) information,” saying it’s “threatening the international order on which we all depend.”

She provided no evidence backing her claims because there is none, adding:

“I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.”

“Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies (sic), the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us.”

“The UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and work with our allies to do likewise.”

What’s going on? Britain partners with Washington’s imperial agenda. It’s allied with its wars of aggression and anti-Russia propaganda.

May is in trouble politically, her tenure as prime minister faltering. Reportedly, 40 Tory MPs prepared a letter of no confidence in her leadership, calling for her to step down - eight short of the number needed to trigger a contest to replace her.

Full story »

How Runaway Inequality Creates Runaway Global Warming

November 15th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

The bottom half of humans own next to nothing, but they own as much as the world’s richest 80 individuals do, because though the bottom half are poor, there are 3.79 billion of them.

The average person among the richest 80 owns 45,750,000 times as much as does the average person among the lower half. In other words: in terms of wealth, the typical one of those hyper-rich equals nearly 46 million of those poor people.

The richest person among the poor half of humanity owns approximately $5,000, but billions of people in the lower half own less than nothing — they’re negative net worth: owing more than they own. However, whatever they own is visible, and easily seizable, either by creditors, or by thieves.

By contrast, the wealth of all billionaires, including of the top 80, is largely secret, lots of it being in shell companies, many offshore, untraceable. Consequently, estimates of the wealth of the richest 80 individuals are probably unrealistically low. This secretiveness is a major reason why the public tolerates being ruled by an aristocracy: they don’t even recognize that they are — they think they live in a democracy, even if they don’t.

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China and the US: Rational Planning and ‘Lumpen’ Capitalism

November 6th, 2017

James Petras

Introduction

US journalists and commentators, politicians and Sinologists spend considerable time and space speculating on the personality of China’s President Xi Jinping and his appointments to the leading bodies of the Chinese government, as if these were the most important aspects of the entire 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (October 18-24, 2017)[2].

Mired down in gossip, idle speculation and petty denigration of its leaders, the Western press has once again failed to take account of the world-historical changes which are currently taking place in China and throughout the world.

World historical changes, as articulated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, are present in the vision, strategy and program of the Congress. These are based on a rigorous survey of China’s past, present and future accomplishments.

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Trump’s Latest Warning

October 19th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

His rage for war makes any announced warnings sound especially ominous - even if they’re only bluster.

With him it’s hard to tell, the latest one coming after discussing Iran and North Korea with Pentagon officials.

During a photo-op with them assembled before dinner, he asked: “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the “calm before the storm. Could be the calm before the storm.”

What storm, he was asked: “ISIS? North Korea? Iran?”

“You’ll find out,” he responded, adding “(w)e have the world’s great military people in this room, I will tell you that.”

He denounced Iran, said the country won’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons it deplores and doesn’t want, Trump likely ignorant of its longterm position.

Maybe he doesn’t care. Talking tough is his preferred way of operating, making threats and enemies at the same time.

On North Korea, he roared “(w)e cannot allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or allies with unimaginable loss of life,” vowing to “do what we must do to prevent that from happening and it will be done, if necessary. Believe me.”

Hawkish generals running administration policy prepared “a broad range of military options,” he added. Earlier he threatened total destruction on the country.

Full story »

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